Champion Trees, Champion Residents

By Alice Nicolson

Last spring many of us were thrilled to find that Collington almost had a county Champion tree in our woods – almost, because although the tree is about 200’ behind unit 5004, it is just outside our property line in the adjoining county Regent Forest Park. The tree came to our attention in 2016 because neighbors asked Davey Tree Company to clear the woodland behind their homes. The Davey arborist noticed the big tree, misidentified it as an ash, and recommended that it be treated against Emerald Ash Borer infestation (a recently arrived pest which is killing ash trees all over the country). Jane Engle contacted her friend Mike Ellis, a Prince George’s park ranger, and asked him to come over and check out this large ash since it might be a county record holder. Mike came, determined that the tree was a mockernut hickory, not an ash (so definitely not needing protection against the EAB!), took its measurements, found its location was just outside Collington property (alas!), and determined that it was indeed a Champion tree for the county. Jane was credited with nominating it (and she and Mike co-nominated two other county champions in other parks). Jane and Mike did some other tree hunting in the neighboring woodland and found one other likely candidate, but had not measured it at the time. 

tree1Pfund, Nicolson and Engle with Mockernut

This week Mike Ellis and his supervisor, Chris Garrett, came over to meet with Ken Burton, Jane’s husband, to have another look at the Mockernut and to relocate and measure the other large tree. (Kyle Olsen and I came along as well). The tree is located several hundred feet downstream from where the trail behind 5110 goes into the swampy woods and meets the stream (Bald Hill Branch) at the white bucket marker. It also is not on Collington’s property, being across the stream where the beaver was very active earlier this winter, in Enterprise Park. However, it is easily seen from our side. Chris and Mike waded across the stream (I clambered across on fallen tree trunks) determined that the tree was a bitternut hickory, measured it and checked the current record listing for that species – and we have yet another county Champion  tree not quite on Collington land!

tree2Bitternut with sign

Chris and Mike placed plaques designating both champion trees on stakes at the foot of the trees, facing Collington viewers. Both trees remind us of Jane Engle, whose love for trees inspires all who worked with her.  If you walk the woodland trail behind the 5000’s, look for the new sign there and, if you are nimble, ramble down our side of the stream and see if you can spot the big tree just across the water!

Introducing “The Landing”

We have all been waiting for the opening of “The Landing” with great anticipation.  Indeed we have now received invitations for group tastings in the near future.  So we thought folks might be interested in seeing how our chefs are developing the recipes and learning the techniques to ensure the food is mouthwatering.

Disclaimer:  The videography standard is not nearly up to the demonstrated cooking standard.  This is my first venture into videography and we can all blame Richard Zorza for the loan of his video cam and the accompanying lessons he gave me.




A History of African American Hospitals in the U.S.

By Dr. Bud Gardiner

Join resident Dr. Bud Gardiner on February 15th at 2 pm in the Auditorium for this fascinating program.  Sponsored by the Health Services Committee.


The health of African slaves was an issue concerning slave-holders but there was no organized attention paid to this issue.  In 1832, the Georgia General Assembly established a hospital “for the relief and protection of afflicted and aged Africans”.  Thus, the Georgia Infirmary was built south of Savannah. Over the years approximately 200 hospitals were established for black citizens under the auspices of governments, a variety of charitable organizations and groups of African American citizens and physicians. They were often tied to medical and nursing education. The bulk of them, of course, was in the southern states and had varying lengths of survival. With the impact of economic and social influences, (especially racial integration) only one such hospital remains. Their history provides a fascinating glimpse of an oppressed but resourceful segment of our population.


Productive and Active

The theme at Collington for this year’s Black History Month is “Productive and Active.” Arts and crafts are now on display showing many products of being active. The glass cases in the Clock Tower contain work of residents including stained glass and needle point. Other products organized by Delores Hawkins are hung in the auditorium corridor. They include a jigsaw puzzle completed by Ron Hawkins and the picture, Fields to Factory, loaned by the Hawkinses. Students of SAGE classes may recognize work of the teacher, Albert Hurley, whose portraits are in the corridor. Pictures created by resident Madeline Wilson are scheduled for the exhibit. Von Willingham loaned her picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. The general effect of the displays is a demonstration of production contributed by the Collington community.

Artists-in-Residence Featured in the TERP

Collington’s artists-in-residence, Samantha Flores and Matthew Rynes, students at the University of Maryland, were featured in an article in the university’s magazine, the Terp. Included is a picture of Sam and the Collington singers. Click here to see the full article.